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7 









TORONTO 




""Water 



THE CITIES OF REFUGE 



T> 



HE CITIES 

OF REFUGE 



pictures of (BospeUprinciples, (3ospel= 
promises, ano <3ospel=privileges 



EY THE 



YEN. W. J. ARMITAGE, M.A., PH.D, 

Rector of St. Paul s Church, Canon of All Saints 

Cathedral, and Archdeacon of Halifax, 

Nova Scotia. 



WITH PREFATORY NOTE BY THE 

RIGHT REV. HANDLEY C. G. MOULE, D.D. 

LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM. 



SECOND EDITION 

LONDON : 

MARSHALL BROTHERS, LTD., 
KESW1CK HOUSE, PATERNOSTER ROW, B.C. 



R. W. SIMPSON AND CO., LTD. 

PRINTERS, 
RICHMOND, LONDON* 



Contents 

CHAPTER PAGE 

PREFATORY NOTE vii. 

PREFACE ix. 

INTRODUCTION JESUS CHRIST OUR REFUGE 7 

I. KEDESH JESUS CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY . 25 

II. SHECHEM JESUS CHRIST OUR STRENGTH . 37 

III. HEBRON JESUS CHRIST OUR FRIEND . . 47 

IV. BEZER JESUS CHRIST OUR FORTRESS . . 59 
V. RAMOTH JESUS CHRIST OUR HEAVENLY HOME 71 

VI. GOLAN JESUS CHRIST OUR JOY. . 81 



prefatory 1Rotc 

BY THE BISHOP OF DURHAM 

I WISH this book " good luck in the name of the 
Lord." To me it has carried many a message of 
instruction, suggestion and encouragement. The 
treatment of the Types of the Old Testament 
calls of course for much humble reserve when 
we come to details ; for even where the general 
reference of a Type to Christ is most certain it 
is possible to carry references in detail too far. 
But Archdeacon Armitage has both selected a 
Type which is certain in its reference, for Heb. 
vi. 18 fixes it distinctly, for the believer, when it 
tells us that it is to the Lord Jesus Christ that 
we "fly for refuge to lay hold on the hope set 
before us." And then he has treated that Type 
with a reverent abstinence from overdrawn detail, 
yet with a beautifully distinct line of exposition. 
For myself, I have been struck with the spiritual 
fitness, in almost every instance, of his 
"application" of the names of the Refuge Cities, 

vii 



viii PREFATORY NOTE 

finding in each of them a reminder of some one 
of the glorious characters of Him who is our 
Hiding-place and our Abode. 

May the volume carry to very many Christian 
hearts an errand of grace and peace, to the glory 
of our Lord. 

HANDLEY DUNELM. 



preface 

THE object of this book is to aid in the 
development of the spiritual life. Its aim is 
practical rather than theoretical. It is intended 
especially to serve devotional ends, and to 
furnish food for meditation to Christian hearts, 
on the different aspects of Christ s life, charac 
ter, and work. 

The author is conscious of the danger of 

pushing too far a method of interpretation which 

does not appeal with equal force to all minds ; 

but he believes that the inferences which he draws 

from the Cities of Refuge, their purpose, and their 

use, are all in complete accordance with the best 

traditions of devotional study of the Word of God. 

It is only in the broad sense of the term that 

the Cities of Refuge are used as types, and along 

the liberal lines indicated by Professor A. B. 

Davidson, who held that " a type is a fact that 

teaches a moral truth and predicts some actual 

realisation of that truth." Indeed, the thought 



x PREFACE 

in the writer s mind is rather the modern one of 
illustration. He is far from asserting that the 
Cities of Refuge were originally chosen because 
of the significance of their names, and that the 
derived ideas which have grown up around them, 
were necessarily in the minds of those to whom 
the revelation was first given. There is abundant 
Biblical analogy, however, for their figurative 
use, and Biblical students in all generations have 
felt perfectly free to employ them. 

In any case, whether the individual cities are 
used as types or as illustrations, the aspects of 
Christ s life and work which are here described, 
and from which many spiritual lessons are drawn, 
are true to fact, consistent with the Christian 
Revelation, and should yield, with the blessing of 
God, and the light and leading of His Holy 
Spirit, instruction and edification to Christian 
people. It is my earnest prayer that every reader 
may enter into the fulness of privilege provided 
for the Christian believer, and find in Jesus Christ 
a refuge both for time and for eternity. 

W. J. ARMITAGE. 



Ube Cities of IRcfuge 



B 



"Among the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, 
there shall be six cities for Refuge." Numb. xxxv. 6. 

" The Lord is my Refuge." -Ps. xciv. 22. (P.B.V.) 

" I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress ; 
My God, in Him will I trust." Ps. xci. 2. 

"We may have a strong encouragement who have fled 
for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." Heb. vi. 
i8(R.V.). 

"Some soul may hence discern the truth of the Gospel- 
Refuge." Dean Law. 

"Christ is a believer s City of Refuge, or the alone 
sanctuary for distressed souls." Dr. Thos. Manton. 

" Typically . . . these cities show us three things Our 
Danger, our Refuge, our Safety." Canon Clayton. 

" Other Refuge have I none." Charles Wesley. 

And may it some persuade, that go astray, 
To turn their feet and heart to the right way." 

John Bunyan. 

" The path of life we walk to-day 

Is strange as that the Hebrews trod ; 
We need the shadowing rock, as they, 
We need, like them, the guides of God." 

/. G. Whittier. 

" How blest are they who still abide 
Close shelter d in Thy bleeding side, 
Who life and strength from thence derive, 
And by Thee move, and in Thee live." 

Zinzcndort. 



" Our City of defence, to Thee, 
From the avenger, Lord we flee, 
Who in Thy Death confide ; 
Justice divine pursues in vain 
The men who God Himself have slain, 
When sheltered in Thy side." 

Charles Wesley. 

"Szlr Refuge Cities all in ONE/ 

For Christ is all in all ! ; 
And they who are in Him, are where 

No evil can befall. 
But out of Him no Refuge is 

No other Name neath heaven 
To be the sinner s hiding place 

Hath God to mortals given." /. E. /. 



THE ample and perfect security which there 
is in Christ, for every trusting soul, was 
remarkably foreshadowed in the Old 
Testament. There were many types of 
Christ, which, like stars in the night, shone for a 
season and then passed away. There were 
numbers of beautiful and expressive emblems 
which suggested deep and all important truths, 
awakening faith and hope in the spiritual and 
eternal, in the light of which many souls rejoiced ; 
they were, however, at best, merely temporary in 
their character. The guiding cloud, the gracious 
manna, the refreshing stream, while God-given, 
and fruitful in lessons for all time, ended as the 
Israelites crossed the Jordan. There is a gospel 
in the old covenant, but it lies still in the shadow ; 
the Christ life, the truth of God, is but dimly seen. 
We may say of type, and figure, and emblem, and 
symbol : 

"They have their day and cease to be : 
They are but broken lights of Thee, 
And Thou, O Lord, art more than they." 

7 



THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

But in the Cities of Refuge, seal of the Gospel- 
fact, that Christ is a sure and an eternal refuge, 
as Dean Law so well remarked, we have a sign 
which lived through the history of God s ancient 
people. " It never failed until the cross was 
reared." And as Dr. Adam Clarke said, the 
whole of the Gospel could be preached from them. 

The divine institution of the Cities of Refuge 
was based upon the sanctity of the life of man, 
connected with the kindred thought of the 
preciousness of human blood. The fruitful idea 
that the individual man has an endless value in 
the sight of God, was, as Professor Jowett pointed 
out, " foreign to the age of Plato," but it was 
largely realised in the early history of Israel. 
Israel above all the nations of the earth set true 
worth upon the value of man as man. 
The national spirit seemed to say : 

" But for Adam s seed, MAN ! Trust me, tis a clay above 

your scorning, 

With God s image stamp d upon it, and God s kindling 
breath within." 

And while the legislation was intended for an 
imperfect state of society, and provided for condi 
tions of a primitive character, for a people still in 
the childhood of the race, yet it was a step towards 
a more perfect system, merciful in character, 
reformatory in purpose, and uplifting in design. 
The criticism which cavils at the Mosaic laws 
is frequently due to failure to observe and 



INTRODUCTION 9 

appreciate the significance of the progressive ele 
ment in revelation. There is progress in revelation, 
and necessarily so, on account of the imperfection 
of human society deeply affected by sin. 

The City of Refuge on earth typified in some 
measure the heavenly Jerusalem. The Old Testa 
ment dispensation was preparatory in its nature, 
admirably adapted to meet the conditions of the 
people and the times, and pointed forward to ideal 
perfection only to be realized in Jesus Christ. 
"The law was given by Moses, but grace and 
truth came by Jesus Christ." 

In the Jewish economy appointed of God for 
the settlement of the Promised Land, at least six 
Cities of Refuge were especially set apart and 
given rights of asylum under certain well-defined 
conditions. The number six, which in the 
symbology of Scripture would appear to imply 
some degree of human imperfection, falling short 
as it does of seven, that is complete or divine 
perfection, is not without significance. It was 
intended that they should afford shelter and pro 
tection to those who committed homicide unin 
tentionally, or, in the language of the Scripture, 
unawares and unwittingly. 

It is always possible that, through accident, 
and without premeditation, or through ignorance, 
and without intention, one might be the cause of 
the death of another. 

Among the customs of the East, which 



10 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

have come down even to modern times, there 
is one which gave the next-of-kin the right 
of taking vengeance for the blood shed. The 
Hebrews, feeling above others the sacredness 
of human life, bound together by closer ties, 
and with the words of the Divine revelation ever 
before them, "whoso sheddeth man s blood, by 
man shall his blood be shed," gave large place in 
their minds to the duty of the next-of-kin to be 
an avenger of his brother s death. He was looked 
upon as a righteous avenger of murder, and his 
rights were as firmly established as any by court 
of law. In fact he was the instrument of law, 
and simply did what we now assign to the officers 
of the crown. There is no satisfactory equivalent 
in English, Professor Buchanan Gray thinks, for 
the Hebrew word Go el, for " his mission," as 
Clay Trumbull points out, " was not vengeance, 
but equity. He was not an avenger, but a 
redeemer, a restorer, a balancer." 

The Go el, the Redeemer, as a point of 
honour, took vengeance upon the person who had 
slain his kinsman. But it was not allowed 
to take the form of lawless or merely 
personal revenge, or to degenerate into family 
strife. Its bounds were carefully set. And 
in the Divine plan under the covenant the 
motive was judged, man was treated as a 
free moral agent, responsibility was fixed, and 
the whole question was lifted from the lower 



INTRODUCTION n 

level of mere blood revenge, and given ethical 
significance. 

Layard, in his " Discoveries in the Ruins of 
Nineveh and Babylon," declares that however 
repugnant it may seem to our ideas of justice, it 
must be " admitted that no power vested in any 
one individual, and no punishment, however 
severe, could tend more to the maintenance of 
order and the prevention of bloodshed amongst 
the wild tribes of the desert." Dr. Selah 
Merrill says, that it was " one of the most 
humane features of ancient civilisation." The 
Mosaic law by this provision, while it upheld the 
sanctity of human life and inspired horror at the 
thought of the shedding of blood, even by 
accident, furnished a large measure of protection 
to the innocent. 

The word city in ancient times carried with it 
the idea of protection. " Cities," we are told, 
" whether in Babylonia or in Palestine were, at 
first, simply fortified dwellings of clansmen." 
The earliest city of which we read was 
founded for that purpose. Cain built the 
first city and called it after the name of 
his son Enoch. The city of Enoch was not, of 
course, a city in the modern sense, with its civil 
government, its lines of streets and squares, its 
houses and factories, its churches and shops ; but 
a fortified place, built for the greater protection of 
those who congregated together for safety and 



12 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

social intercourse. The etymology of the word 
is obscure, but it seems probable that, its first and 
leading thought, like the Saxon " burg," is that 
of security. The Code of Hammurabi, and other 
indications, show that city organisation with the 
Ass) ro-Babylonians was far more advanced and 
progressive, than is generally supposed. In 
later times the term gained a wider significance, 
and to the Greeks and Romans a city furnished 
opportunity for collective and corporate life upon 
social and political lines. 

The Cities of Refuge were so placed, three on 
either side of Jordan, that they provided the 
greatest possible readiness of access. The devout 
imagination has always pictured for the cities, 
conditions almost ideal in character. The gates of 
the cities, like those of the new Jerusalem, were to 
be kept always open, both day and night. The 
approach to them was to be the easiest possible, 
with good roads, at least twice the ordinary 
regulation width, and kept constantly in thorough 
repair. All obstructions were to be carefully 
removed that might offer the least hindrance to 
the runner in his flight. All hills were levelled 
wherever possible, and the streams bridged. 
There were sign-posts provided at every turn in 
the road, and at the cross-roads, with the inscrip 
tion upon them, " Miklat," "Miklat" "Refuge," 
" Refuge," in plain characters, so that he that 
ran might read. In the cities themselves an 



INTRODUCTION 13 

abundant supply of food and water was to be 
constantly kept against all exigencies which 
might arise, and no weapons of war were to be 
allowed within the walls. 

It was far otherwise in every other system in 
primitive times, and indeed in later days, for the 
right of vengeance for wrongs inflicted upon a 
member of the social unit whether it was the 
clan or the family has been claimed within 
recent years. The Corsican vendetta still exists, 
as may be seen in the pages of the daily 
press, and is a fruitful theme for fiction. It is 
prevalent in Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. It 
has shown itself in the Italian form in the United 
States, but existed there long before in some of 
the States, at least under the name of feud. The 
blood-feud was for centuries the curse of the 
borderland between England and Scotland, and, 
as in the case of the Scott and Kerr families, was 
carried through many generations. It gave the 
turbulent Armstrongs a firmer hold upon their 
own blood relations and struck terror into the 
hearts of their enemies. 

The spirit of the ancient feud still lives in 
Ireland, and there are many instances where the 
family of the slain claimed the right, and exercised 
it whenever possible, to exact an eye for an eye, a 
tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, until vengeance 
was completed upon the slayer and his kin. The 
result has been in Ireland as in Italy that the 



i 4 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

death of one person has often led to the sacrifice 
of many lives. 

The ancient system which provided an asylum 
for those who fled from the avenger of blood, would 
naturally lead to many grave abuses unless care 
fully regulated. Daun tells us that the " asyla " 
of the Greeks, Romans, and Germans, enabled the 
criminal who was amenable to the laws, to 
escape the sentence he justly merited. In many 
countries, as Driver points out, a money com 
pensation was " accepted by the relatives of a 
murdered man as a satisfaction for his life." It 
was so amongst the Greeks and Germans, and, 
Freeman thinks, amongst the Saxons as well. It 
still obtains amongst the Arabs, and is indeed 
recognized by the laws of Mohammed. 

" Hebrew law," as Professor Buchanan Gray 
well points out, " marks a very distinct advance 
by so modifying primitive custom as to secure 
an adequate punishment for the individual 
guilty of murder, and a clear distinction between 
accidental and wilful homicide." In the Hebrew 
view there is no possible compensation adequate 
to cover the loss of a human life, " murder can be 
atoned for only by the blood of the murderer." 
The wilful murderer, under the Jewish law, as 
we read in Exodus xxi. 14, the briefest and most 
ancient statement of the law of homicide, was 
to be torn even from the altar of God, and put to 
death. He had no rights of sanctuary. Justice 



INTRODUCTION 15 

compelled him to stand at the bar of judgment 
for his crime. 

The Cities of Refuge were provided to cover 
unintentional acts of murder, and these alone. 
The refugee, as Professor Gray states, could 
obtain protection only until such time as it could 
be " legally determined whether death was 
inflicted wilfully or accidentally." Otherwise, as 
Calvin remarked, " the kindred of those who had 
been killed would have doubled the evil." The 
law, then, was not only just and equitable, 
but in the highest interest of the community, 
private as well as public. As Professor Keil 
says, " we have in this arrangement a mani 
festation of the perfect rigour of divine justice in 
the most beautiful concord with compassionate 
mercy." 

The refugee, whether an Israelite or a stranger, 
was safe the moment he entered the gate of the 
city of refuge. But as a safeguard, and in order 
not to screen real criminals, the elders of the city 
and of the place from which he came instituted 
an inquiry into the facts of the case, and reached 
a decision as to whether the act was involuntary 
or the result of malice. If he was pronounced a 
murderer, the nearest kinsman of the person slain 
executed in his own person the sentence of death. 
If he was adjudged innocent of wilful murder, he 
was protected in the city of refuge, and on the 
death of the high priest he was no longer counted 



16 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

as a fugitive, but was allowed to return home to 
his relatives and friends. 

This merciful provision of the Cities of Refuge 
acted as a preventive to idolatry ; the involuntary 
man-slayer was not driven to seek a home among 
the heathen nations around, but was allowed to 
live in his own land, among his own kindred, who 
held like him the faith in Israel s God. 

The Cities of Refuge were not merely civil 
institutions serving a local purpose. They were 
also types of heavenly things, and taught the 
people lessons of the very deepest significance. 
Should any one claim that they were not actually 
" types," surely no one will deny that at least 
they most marvellously illustrated the revelation 
of God. We venture to use the word " type," in 
its larger theological significance, as suggestive at 
least of similarity, identity, and predictiveness. 
Professor A. B. Davidson defines a type, in 
language much less restrictive than that of many 
modern theologians. " A type," he says, " is a 
fact that teaches a moral truth and predicts 
some actual realisation of that truth." This gives 
us much larger room in which to move in our 
interpretation of the revelation of God s mind 
and will in the Old Testament. We are able to 
enjoy the full fruitage of that which was seen 
before only in bud and blossom. For " a typical 
dispensation is one related to the dispensation of 
which it is typical, as a bud is to the flower, as a 



INTRODUCTION i? 

miniature to a portrait, as a sketch or outline 
to a filled-in picture." 

Philo, the prince of uninspired allegorical 
writers, who was contemporary with our blessed 
Lord, but whose chief works appeared before the 
New Testament writings, and who represents 
the high water mark of Jewish philosophy, 
saw in the Cities of Refuge God s thought 
for men. While it is true that Philo did not 
know Jesus Christ as Saviour, yet his teaching 
shows the trend of Israel s hope which centred in 
the promised Christ of God. 

The Cities of Refuge in Philo s teaching are six 
in number, and correspond with six divine powers. 
He says that the oldest and the best, the metro 
politan city is the Divine Logos, or Thought. 
Philo never reached the truth which St. John 
gave under inspiration to the Christian Church, 
that the Logos was not only with God, but was 
God. Still he taught clearly, and it was mar 
vellous for an uninspired man to do so, that the 
Logos is the thought of God, and although he 
said that God Himself is higher, yet three times 
at least he called the Logos a God. 

The Logos, Philo taught, is the Mother-city, 
not merely one of a number. It is the most 
profitable to rly to, but only the swiftest runners 
can hope to gain it. It is the highest city, the 
fountain of wisdom, from thence is drawn, instead 
of death, eternal life. 

c 



i8 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

The other five cities are what might be called 
colonies of the Mother-city, the Divine Logos. 
The foremost is the Creative power, for by a word 
He made the universe. The second is the Regal, 
the kingly power by which He rules what He has 
made. The third is the Propitious, through 
which He shows mercy and displays the spirit of 
compassion, as a God of grace. The fourth is the 
Preceptive, by which He teaches, giving instruc 
tion by precept for the regulation of conduct. The 
fifth is Prohibitive, by which He forbids that 
which is wrong, forbidding it with all the authority 
of His perfect law. These five cities, colonies of 
the great Mother-city, correspond with five 
powers of Him Who speaks the Word or 
Logos. 

The Cities of Refuge embodied in themselves 
truths of the highest importance concerning 
the salvation of God, and His provision of 
grace and security for His children. They 
were pictures of the Gospel, they foretold the 
way of salvation, they illustrated in many 
different ways the mission and work of the 
Divine Redeemer. They pointed to Christ in His 
office of our great High Priest, in His work as 
Redeemer and Saviour. They were an object- 
lesson of the meaning of sin, of the punishment 
which it deserves, of the only means of escape from 
it, and they furnished a marvellous resemblance 
to the way of salvation in Christ our only refuge. 



INTRODUCTION 19 

The Cities of Refuge point to Christ as the 
sinner s refuge, and that in more ways than one. 
They are found on careful and prayerful study 
to suggest Gospel-principles, Gospel-promises, 
Gospel-privileges. Christ is Himself the city 
of refuge. 

The six Cities of Refuge belonged to the priestly 
tribe of Levi. The forty-eight cities of Levi 
possessed the right of asylum, but the six Cities 
of Refuge were bound to receive and to entertain, 
without cost, the involuntary homicide. They were 
priestly cities, with peculiar privileges of their own. 

The refugee, flying from the avenger, had but 
to pass through the gate, and not only was he 
immune, free from the slightest danger, but he 
ranked at once as a fellow-citizen with the priests 
of the Most High God. The levitical or priestly 
cities were selected, because they belonged to 
Jehovah Himself, and were under His special 
protection as well as recipients of His grace. 
There, if anywhere, the administration of justice 
would reach its highest point. Social life would 
also be at its best. There would be opportunities 
for education, and the cities would naturally yield 
instruction to the refugee, as well as adequate 
protection to his life. The cities would also be 
pervaded by a religious atmosphere. The con 
ditions were, therefore, the best possible, whether 
viewed from the legislative, social, scholastic, or 
spiritual standpoint. 



20 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Jesus Christ is our first and only Priest. The 
Levitical priesthood which pointed to Him has 
been realised and fulfilled in His life and work. 

Jesus Christ is the one eternal High Priest, 
through whom salvation comes to man, and in 
whom man has communion with God. The 
Levitical priesthood was limited by imperfection 
and changes. The priesthood of Christ is 
eternal, perfect, inviolable, intransmissible 
(d-n-apaftarov) , all-powerful, and all-prevailing. He is 
our Priest upon the throne of the Divine Majesty, 
the sovereign Lord over all, God blessed forever. 
He is the sole and perfect mediator between God 
and men ; He receives the trustful, penitent soul, 
and saves to the uttermost all that come unto 
God through Him ; He is the sinner s refuge, his 
only hope, his life, his all ; He is, in Himself, the 
living way ; in His own person He is the bridge 
that spans the great gulf of eternity ; the ladder 
set up from earth to heaven ; the world s great 
altar stairs, which lead from man to God. The 
very name Jesus means saviour, and the Scrip 
tures declare that there is salvation in Him alone, 
" neither is there salvation in any other." He is the 
world s sole refuge. There is none other name 
given under heaven whereby we must be saved. 
"Other refuge have I none. 
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee." 

The Christian believer stands safe and secure 
within this refuge. He dwells in the secret place 



INTRODUCTION 21 

of the Most High. It is to him an everlasting 
home, full of glory, full of joy unspeakable, and 
of light that never fades away. He has passed 
out of the condition of ruin, of degradation, of 
death, into the life of Christ, and has become an 
heir of God, a joint heir with Christ, a partaker 
of the heavenly glory. He is now a priest and a 
king, in the city of his God, from which he is to 
go no more out forever. 

The Sanctuary which Christ is to His people, 
through the grace of God, is an eternal refuge. 
The life upon which the Christian enters is ever 
lasting. In the ancient city of refuge, when 
Israel s High Priest died, the refugee left the 
sheltering walls of the city, and returned to his 
old home. But our great High Priest ever liveth, 
and in Him we constantly abide. " In Christ," 
there is safety, and merciful provision, for time 
and for eternity. His precious blood completely 
cleanses from all sin. His perfect love casts 
out all fear. His grace is sufficient for every 
need. 

Jesus Christ is not only the divinely appointed 
way of escape, He is, in Himself, the city of 
refuge. " I have no hope in what I have been or 
am," said the saintly Dr. Doddridge on his dying 
bed, " yet I am full of confidence ; and this is 
my confidence : there is a hope set before me, I 
have fled, I still fly for refuge to that hope. In 
Him I trust ; in Him I have strong consolation, 



22 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

and shall assuredly be accepted in this beloved of 
my soul." " Believe a dying man," said the 
great Dr. Johnson to his physician, " there is no 
salvation but in the sacrifice of the Lamb of 
God." 



Jesus Christ ouv Sanctuary 



" A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place 
of our sanctuary." Jer. xvii. 12. 

" Whither, O whither should I fly, 

But to my loving Saviour s breast ? 
Secure within Thine arms to lie, 

And safe beneath Thy wings to rest." 

Charles Wesley. 

" I need Thee, Holy Saviour ! 

For sin defileth me ; 
And only in Thy holiness 
Could I my Father see." 

" Sin Thou has blotted out, and Thou 

Our Kedesh City art ; 
Our Shechemj too, Thou bearcst its, 
The signet on Thine heart/ 

/ E.J. 

" Israel, in ancient days, 
Not only had a view 
Of Sinai in a blaze, 
But learn d the Gospel too ; 
The types and figures were a glass, 
In which they saw the Saviour s face." 

Wm. Cowper. 



1. "IRebesb 



THE first in order of the Cities of Refuge, 
according to the Book of Joshua, 
appointed, or " sanctified," (as the 
marginal reading suggests), by God was 
Kedesh, in Galilee, in Mount Naphthali. It 
was beautifully situated on a lofty ridge about 
twenty miles from Tyre. It was surrounded by 
a well-watered plain, which had been highly 
cultivated and sustained a large population. 

The city itself was splendidly fortified against 
attack. It is notable as thu birthplace and 
residence of Barak, and it was there that he and 
Deborah assembled the tribes of Zebulon and 
Naphthali when they "jeoparded their lives unto 
the death " in the great battle against Sisera, the 
captain of the hosts of Canaan. It was after 
wards known as Cades, and is now called Kedes. 

The name Kedesh means set apart, a sanctuary, 
a holy city. The eminent Hebraist, Fiirst, 
says $15 Kadhash, signifies to be fresh, pure, 
bright, holy ; to be consecrated, sanctified, 
set apart to a sacred use, while $7.5 Kedesh, 

25 



26 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

the noun, means : Sanctuary, seat of worship. 
The Oxford Gesenius, which, while it retains 
the massive learning of the great lexicographer, 
embodies the best results of the latest Hebrew 
scholarship, through the combined labours of 
Professors Driver, Brown, and Briggs, says that 
the verb furnishes the original idea of separation, 
withdrawal, apartness, sacredness, holiness ; while 
the noun means Sanctuary. 

The first thought connected with sanctuary is 
that it is a sacred or consecrated place. A 
temple implies a sanctuary, and the word as used 
in the Old Testament is well defined in Exodus, 
" Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may 
dwell among them." But the word sanctuary 
has a wider meaning. It is a sacred asylum or 
refuge, a place of protection. It is also used in 
the sense of rights of sanctuary, of the privileges 
attached to certain places by virtue of which 
accused persons, when they fled to them, were 
able to obtain protection for a longer or shorter 
period. 

The sanctuary, to the saints of old, meant any 
place in which God deigned to dwell or to 
manifest Himself. Thus Jacob, when he awoke 
from the dream, in which God visited him with 
such manifest lessons of His loving care, said, 
" This is none other than the house of God, and 
this is the gate of heaven." So William Cowper, 
the Christian poet, could write, 



JESUS CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY 27 

" Where er they seek Thee Thou art found, 
And every place is hallowed ground." 

But God also met His people in a special 
manner in His house. " Ye shall reverence my 
sanctuary." The tabernacle was His sanctuary, 
as was also the temple, afterwards, and indeed the 
synagogues also, as places set apart for prayer 
and the study of the Divine Word. 

The holy of holies was also designated the 
sanctuary. The altar furnished rights of asylum 
in Israel. At the corners of the altar were four 
horn-shaped wooden projections overlaid with 
brass, to which the victims were tied in sacrifice, 
and which were smeared with blood in the sin 
offering. The symbolical meaning of the horns 
was might, and they were object lessons of the 
mighty salvation and the perfect security which 
God gives to the believing soul in approaching 
Him, and of the mercy which He offers to the 
sons of men. Here was the inviolable sanctuary, 
grasping which the refugee, if free from criminal 
intent, was safe from the strongest, for his appeal 
was not only to the mercy of man, but also to the 
protection of the Almighty. It was this sanctuary 
which Adonijah sought when he "feared because 
of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold 
on the horns of the altar " (i Kings i. 50). The 
unhappy prince refused to leave this sure sanc 
tuary, unless Solomon under solemn oath would 
give him a promise of safe-keeping. So Joab, 



28 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

for the same cause, " fled into the tabernacle of 
the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the 
altar." 

As a general principle all heathen temples and 
altars afforded the privileges of sanctuary, 
protected by the rule that it was a sacrilegious 
act to attempt to remove by force, or to offer 
bodily harm to any person who had sought the 
protection of a deity. The provision made in the 
Jewish economy by which a refugee was kept free 
of all expense for good, did not obtain, however, 
amongst the heathen, and he was only allowed to 
remain while his means lasted. The celebrated 
temple of Diana at Ephesus acquired rights of 
protection, even beyond its own boundary walls, 
and made a part of the city proper a sanctuary. 
Grote tells us, in his history of Greece, that 
Pleistoanax, king of Sparta, lived for a long time 
in sanctuary, near the temple of Athene at Tegea. 

We read in the Book of Judges that the house 
of the god Berith (El-berith) in Shechem 
contained an asylum, or place of refuge in a 
" hold," for one thousand men. 

In early days the right to take refuge in a 
Christian Church was recognized both by Church 
and State. The first Christian emperors granted 
this privilege with the clear understanding that it 
was not to be used to frustrate the ends of justice 
by sheltering hardened offenders and systematic 
criminals, but to afford a refuge to the innocent, 



JESUS CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY 29 

the weak, and the misunderstood. Abuses soon 
sprang up, however, even the worst criminals 
received protection, and the right of sanctuary 
was abolished, except in a few churches. 

The idea gained a strong hold upon the popular 
mind, which is illustrated from more standpoints 
than one by the case of Guntramn, king of the 
Franks, in 561, who thought when he entered the 
Church at Aries that he required no guard of 
soldiers. Yet when he was attacked by an 
assassin, it was considered to be sacrilege to put 
to death even the man who attempted the 
murder, because he had been dragged from the 
Church. 

The privilege belonged to many Churches 
in England, notably Westminster Abbey and 
Beverley Minster. The sanctuary knocker is 
still shown at Durham Cathedral. At Beverley 
Minster, one of the most interesting objects is 
the ancient " Frith Stol " (Stool of Peace), 
which bears every evidence of very great 
antiquity. It is probably older than any portion 
of the Minster. In A.D. 938, when Athelstane 
was returning from his great victory over the 
Scots, he gave Beverley Minster the right of 
sanctuary. Sanctuary extended in the old days 
for over a mile each way from the Church, and 
crosses were put up to mark the boundaries 
which remained until modern times. But the 
" Frith Stol " was the most sacred spot of all. 



3 o THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Whoever attempted to drag a fugitive from this 
sacred seat, however guilty he might seem to 
be, was held to be committing a sacrilege, from 
which no mere money payment could ever free 
him. 

Tradition says that Sebert, the first Christian 
king of Essex (A.D. 604), conferred the peculiar 
right of sanctuary upon the Church at West 
minster. Dean Stanley shows that the immunity 
given was much abused, and says that " the 
precincts of the Abbey were a vast cave of 
Adullam for all the distressed and discontented 
in the metropolis who desired, according to the 
phrase of the time, to take Westminster." But 
it was not without its good uses. Innocence 
often found a refuge from wrong. The queen 
of Edward IV. fled to Westminster, in her 
distress ; and within the walls of that Sanctuary, 
Edward V. first saw the light. And such was the 
feeling of awe towards it that the base designs of 
Richard III. were long kept in check, because the 
young Duke of York was kept in sanctuary by 
his mother at Westminster, of which the Queen 
said, " I reckon him secure ... in this 
Sanctuary, whereof was there never yet tyrant 
so devilish that durst presume to break." 

Jesus Christ is the true Sanctuary. He fulfils 
all that the city of refuge suggested. He is our 
Kedesh, our place of refuge, our sanctuary, our 
sacred place. His name is Saviour, and He is 



JESUS CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY 31 

mighty to save. " The name of the Lord is a 
strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is 
safe " (Prov. xviii. 10). 

The altar was the meeting place between God 
and the transgressor, where the innocent victim 
was offered in the place of the guilty sinner. So 
Christ is the true altar, the meeting place 
between God and man, the one and only 
Priest, the one and only sacrifice, the one and 
only atonement for sin. Then again the horns 
of the altar were symbols of mercy and grace, 
freely offered and freely given by God. They 
told of hope and of safety. To grasp the altar 
horns was to lay hold of God s strength and to 
rest under the shadow of His protecting love. 
So Christ is at once our shelter and our strength. 
He surrounds the believer as with a temple wall, 
keeps him in safety from all enemies and in peace 
amidst all alarms. 

There is a story of the Highlands of Scotland 
which has been told many times to illustrate 
Highland honour. It is connected with the clan 
Macgregor, of famous memory. It seems that a 
son of the great chieftain was killed in a fight in 
an inn on the moors of Glenorchy. The man- 
slayer, a young man named Lament, fled for his 
life from the angry clansmen, and mounting his 
horse, galloped in the darkness of the night at 
full speed until he reached a house in which he 
sought a refuge from his pursuers. It happened 



32 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

to be the house of the chieftain himself, who 
possessed such " wondrous length and strength of 
arm." " Save my life," the fugitive cried, " for 
men are after me to take it away." " Whoever 
you are," said Macgregor, " while you are under 
my roof you are safe." The words were no 
sooner said than the pursuers were at the gate, 
thundering for admittance. They called loudly, 
" Has a stranger just entered the house? " " He 
has," said the chief. " And what may be your 
business with him ? " " He has slain your son," 
was the quick reply. " Give him up to us for 
vengeance." The sad and terrible news rilled the 
house with weeping and lamentation, the great 
chieftain was broken-hearted, his eyes streamed 
with tears, he could hardly speak through his 
sobs, anger and sorrow fought against truth and 
honour in his breast, but the right triumphed, 
and he said, " No ; you cannot have the youth, 
for he has Macgregor s word for his safety, and 
as God lives, while he is in my house, he shall 
stay secure." It was a noble sentiment, from a 
heart of stainless honour, and we need not wonder 
at the faith which animated the Clan in their 
gatherings, under every form of proscription : 

" While there s leaves on the forest, or foam on the river, 
Macgregor, despite them, shall flourish for ever." 

The story is a reflection of the love of Christ, 
as shown in a wild highland chief, for the 



JESUS CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY 33 

Lord Jesus long centuries before had given His 
own gracious promise, " Him that cometh unto 
Me I will in no wise cast out." And God, whom 
He came to reveal, was shown to be a God of 
love, the protector of all that trust in Him, our 
refuge and strength, a very present help in time 
of trouble. " They shall never perish," was His 
encouraging word, " and none is able to pluck 
them out of My Father s hand." 

The temple was God s sanctuary of old. It 
represented God dwelling in the midst of Israel, 
and Israel drawing near to God in the appointed 
way. Christ is the true sanctuary. His Man 
hood-, " The Word was made flesh, and dwelt 
(eerK^vaxrev tabernacled) among us," is the 
" tabernacle of meeting " between man and God. 
His glorified body passed into the holiest place, 
where He ever liveth to make intercession for us. 
It is in Christ that God dwells with us, for "in 
Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead 
bodily" (Col. ii. 9), and it is through our abiding 
in Him and He in us, that God dwells with us 
and in us and is our sanctuary, and in Whom we 
have grace, blessing, and peace. 

Kedesh, the city of the holy place of the 
sanctuary, points to Jesus the holy one of God, 
who is our one and only Refuge, the strong tower 
of the Lord in which we are safe for time and for 
eternity. Happy he who in trusting faith looks 
to Jesus as a refuge. It is related of that master- 

D 



34 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

mind of the English Church, the great Christian 
apologist, Bishop Butler, that as he was on his 
death-bed he said to his chaplain, " I know that 
Jesus Christ is a Saviour but how am I to know 
that He is a Saviour to me ? " The chaplain 
simply answered, " My Lord, it is written, Him 
that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out. 
The dying Bishop was lost in thought for a few 
minutes, but into his heart there came that blessed 
assurance which is the fruit of accepting Jesus as 
a personal Saviour; then he said, " I have often 
read and thought of that scripture, but never till 
this moment did I feel its full power, and now I 
die happy." 



Jesus Christ our Strength 



" How grew its shadowing pile at length 
A symbol in the Hebrew tongue, 
Of God s eternal love and strength ? " 

/. G. Whittier. 

" Only when thine arm 
In sense of weakness reaches forth to God, 
Wilt thou be strong to suffer and to do." 

Dean Plumptre. 

"Man s wisdom is to seek 

His strength in God alone ; 
And even an angel would be weak 
Who trusted in his own. 

Wm. Cowper 

" I have no help but Thine, nor do I need 

Another arm save Thine to lean upon. 

It is enough, my Lord ! enough indeed ; 

My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone." 

Horatius Bonar. 

" Sin, Thou hast blotted out, and Thou 

Our Kedesh City an ; 
Our Shcchem too, Thou dearest its, 
The signet on Thine heart." 

J.E.J. 



2. Sbecbem 



THE second city of refuge was Shechem, 
the Neapolis of the Romans, the modern 
Nablus. It was situated in the hill 
country of Ephraim, and occupied a 
splendid site of great natural beauty. It has 
been called the paradise of Palestine, the 
enchanted fairyland. Gerizim, the mount of 
blessing, and Ebal, the mount of cursing, protected 
it on either side, and at the base of each were not 
more than 500 yards apart. These two mountains 
lift their heads 800 feet above the valley, and 
2,500 feet above the Mediterranean. The valley 
itself possesses a rich soil composed of black 
vegetable mould, and is well watered throughout. 
It is filled with fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, 
and oliveyards. 

Shechem is rich in historical associations, and 
consecrated by many precious memories. Its 
name is familiar to every attentive reader of 
Scripture. It is also known as Sychem and 
some authorities think as Sychar. It was at 
Shechem that God first appeared unto 
Abraham, the great father of the faithful, 



n 



38 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

on his entrance into the Holy Land (Gen. 
xii. 6). It was at Shechem that Jacob cleared 
his house of idols, and buried the images and 
amulets under Abraham s oak. Jotham s parable 
was spoken at Shechem, finding a natural setting 
in the trees which flourished in the neighbour 
hood. There Abraham built an altar. There 
Jacob re-entered the promised land and built an 
altar for worship which he called El-Elohe-Israel, 
God the God of Israel. Jacob s well was there. 
There Joseph was buried when the Israelites took 
possession of Caanan. There Joshua read "the 
words of the law, the blessing, and the curse," 
as all Israel stood " half in front of Mount 
Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal." There 
Jesus taught the woman of Samaria at Jacob s 
well the great lesson concerning the Water of 
Life, and pointed His disciples to the vast 
spiritual harvest field of the world. 

Shechem was the chief city of Ephraim, and 
on the division of the kingdom at Solomon s 
death Jeroboam made it the capital of the 
northern kingdom. It became the centre of 
the religious system of the Samaritans as 
Jerusalem was of the Jews, and the civil capital 
of Samaria. 

Shechem still retains something of its ancient 
importance, and is now the seat of government 
of the Province, " and eloquent homage to its 
immemorial rank it is the connecting link of the 



JESUS CHRIST OUR STRENGTH 39 

telegraphic systems of the east and the west of 
the Jordan." 

There is a special interest in the meaning ot 
Shechem. According to Fiirst Q ?^ Shakham, 
the verb means : To bend, incline oneself in the 
neck and back, to be bent, said of a shoulder 
bearing a burden, to load upon camels or beasts 
of burden for the commencement of a journey ; 
and Q^ Shechem the noun means : the back 
which is inclined for carrying a burden. The 
Oxford Gesenius states that the root meaning 
of the verb is unknown. The Ethiopic has a 
denominative signifying to carry on the shoulder. 
In the Hiphil species in Hebrew, the verb 
is used to signify to start, rise early, load 
beasts of burden for a journey ; the noun 
signifies shoulder, probably the shoulder (saddle) 
of a mountain. 

The Hebrew word may well be taken to mean 
a shoulder, or more properly, the upper part of the 
back just below the neck. The shoulder repre 
sents and is a natural symbol of strength. It is 
used of willingness to help or sustain, as for 
instance the shouldering of responsibility. It has 
the thought of support, that upon which some 
thing is laid, or which holds it up. We speak of 
" putting one s shoulder to the wheel," when we 
think of help that will prove really effective and 
lead to the overcoming of the difficulty. We say 
" shoulder to shoulder " when we wish to convey 



40 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

the thought of united action and of mutual co 
operation in any work. 

The spiritual lessons are many and important. 

The names of Israel s twelve tribes were carried 
on the high priest s shoulders. " Thou shalt take 
two onyx stones, and grave on them the names 
of the children of Israel," " and thou shalt put 
the two stones upon the shoulder-pieces of the 
ephod, for stones of memorial unto the children 
of Israel ; and Aaron shall bear their names before 
the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial " 
(Ex. xxviii. 9, 12). 

This was a great object lesson in spiritual 
things. It signified that the fearful burden of the 
sins and sorrows of God s people was all borne 
in before the Lord. It also suggested that the 
names were presented before the Lord to be kept 
ever in the divine remembrance. 

And so it is that Christ, our great High Priest, 
He who has all power in heaven and earth, bears 
ever upon His shoulders in the heavenly temple 
the precious jewels of His glorious salvation, and 
keeps before His Father s eye the names of His 
people. Not one name is wanting, " He calleth 
His own sheep by name," not one is forgotten* 
" I know mine own." 

" Those characters shall fair abide, 
Our everlasting trust, 

When gems, and monuments, and crowns 
Are mouldered down to dust." 



JESUS CHRIST OUR STRENGTH 41 

Jesus Christ is the great Burden-bearer. He 
bears the weight of our sin and of our sorrow. 
He is the great spiritual Samson. Upon the 
cross He bore the burden of the world s guilt. 
The sins of mankind according to the word of 
promise, " He shall bear their iniquities," were 
laid upon Him. He was the very paschal Lamb 
which " taketh away," or " beareth," as it is in 
the margin, the sin of the whole world. And it 
was by "taking upon Himself our infirmities," 
that Christ took them away. 

He bears the burden of our earthly load of 
sorrow and of trouble, of trial and of loss. We 
are taught to cast all our care upon Him for He 
careth for us, to hurl, as the strong word might 
be translated, it is far more energetic than 
"laying," our burden upon the Lord, for He is 
ready to sustain us. And we know that His 
promises are ever sure. 

One, who ascended the Righi, gained a great 
spiritual blessing from the guide, in the lesson 
which he taught along the line of duty. The 
first thing that he did in the ascent was to ask 
for all outside wraps, and to place them most 
carefully, when bound together, on his shoulders. 
But the climber kept a number back. They were 
soon found, however, to be a hindrance to freedom 
of movement, if not indeed a danger. But still 
they were clung to, until while resting for a 
moment, the guide most respectfully, but none 



42 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

the less firmly, required that everything should be 
given up, but the alpenstock. He then put all 
with the greatest care upon his shoulders and led 
the way. There was not only the possibility of 
double speed, but there was as well double safety. 
It all came like a flash of light, the folly of it, the 
wilfulness of it, not to follow Jesus implicitly, to 
cast all upon Him, just to take Him as Guide 
and to trust Him fully. 

" Cast care aside, lean on Thy Guide ; 
His boundless mercy will provide. 

Christ is the strength of His people. He is our 
" Shechem," our strength. The shoulder is fitted 
for the burden, and Christ answers every need of 
man s being. His grace is sufficient for us and 
His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 
He gives strength for the day and to meet the 
varied needs of man s changing life. 

" His faithful word declares to thee, 
That as thy day strength shall be. " 

" He giveth power to the faint, and to them 
that have no might He increaseth strength." 

The Christian believer, while he may be called 
to bear his cross, to meet the trials of life, to 
face the dark day of sorrow and bitter loss, yet 
whatever the difficulty, whatever the struggle, 
there is given unto him grace for every time of 
need, and a supply of strength, as the occasion 
may require. 



JESUS CHRIST OUR STRENGTH 43 

He has engaged, by firm decree, 
That as thy days thy strength shall be. " 

The blessed secret of this strength is the life of 
constant faith in the Lord Jesus, and the presence 
and power of the Holy Spirit in the heart. And 
so the apostle writes, " Be strong in the Lord, 
and in the power of His might." It is not in our 
selves, but in Christ, Who said, " without Me 
ye can do nothing." But in Christ we can do 
all things, there is nothing impossible to the life 
which is linked by faith in Christ to God. And 
so St. Paul in triumphant faith could declare, 
" I can do all things through Christ which 
strengtheneth me." He is not afraid to say, for 
it is the language of humility, as well as of faith, 
I can do all things, " in Him Who giveth me 
power." It is because of the vital union between 
the believer and the Saviour, a union which would 
hardly seem possible to us, and be beyond our 
dreams, if God had not revealed it in the most 
positive way, the union of our life with the life of 
Christ, He in us and we in Him, that this strength 
is irresistible. 

Jesus Christ is our " Shechem " in that the govern 
ment is upon His shoulder. So Isaiah declared 
"The government shall be upon His shoulder." 
It was the custom to wear the ensign of office 
upon the shoulder, the idea behind the practice 
being that the government was being held up or 
sustained. So it was foretold of Jesus, " And the 



44 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

key of the house of David will I lay upon His 
shoulder." The two primary needs of man s 
soul are forgiveness of sins, and strength to live a 
new life. These Christ alone supplies. He is 
our strength, in that He is omnipotent power, 
and united to Him by faith we draw from that 
rich supply according to our need. 



3csus Christ our Jfvicnb 



" My only refuge is Thy grace." 

Isaac Watts 

" There is a spot where spirits blend, 
And friend holds fellowship with friend. 

Hugh Stowell. 

" Tisonly in Thee hiding, 

I feel my life secure ; 
Only in Thee abiding, 
The conflict can endure." 

/. G. Deck. 

" No longer outcasts from our home, 

We now in Hebron dwell ; 
In fellowship with God and Thee, 
And joy unspeakable." 

J.E.J. 

" Jesus, I love to trace, 
Throughout the sacred page, 
The footsteps of Thy grace, 
The same in ev ry age. 
O grant that I may faithful be 
To clearer light vouchsafd to me." 

William Cowper. 

" We most humbly beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, so 
to assist us with Thy grace, that we may continue in that 
holy fellowship. Post Communion Prayer, 



3. Ibebron 



THE ancient and picturesque city of Hebron 
was also chosen as a City of Refuge. 
It rivalled even Damascus itself in its 
antiquity, and was said to have been 
built seven years before Zoan in Egypt (Numbers 
xiii. 22). Zoan, once the pride of Egypt, the 
royal city boasted an earlier origin than any place 
in that ancient land. And Knobel thought that 
Hebron and Zoan had probably a common 
founder, perhaps one of the Hyksos or Shepherd 
Kings, possibly the Anakim of the Scripture 
story. 

It is known in history, also as Kirjath-Arba, 
"the City of Arba," a mighty man of valour 
amongst the warlike Anakim, justly celebrated for 
his great stature and Herculean strength. 
Hebron became a part of the inheritance of Caleb 
at the conquest, and was then given, or had 
restored to it, its true name: Hebron, company, 
fellowship, friendship. The ancient and truly 
significant designation has been altered by the 
changing conditions of the place, but the old 



4 8 

meaning, though in another tongue, remains, for 
it is still called el Khalil, " The Friend." 

Hebron was the early home of Abraham, the 
" Friend of God," when, after his separation from 
Lot, he received from God a direct grant of the 
gracious land of Palestine. It was at Hebron 
that the heavenly visitants brought the glad tid 
ings of the birth of a son ; there Abraham erected 
an altar for the worship of God ; and it became 
consecrated soil, the cemetery or sleeping place of 
the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ; 
and of Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah as well. 

It was fitting, with such associations, that 
David should fix upon Hebron as his royal city. 
Indeed, it was by divine direction, for when David 
" enquired of the Lord " " Whither shall I go up? " 
God said " Unto Hebron." 

The sacred associations (however perverted) 
still cling about the place, for the Mohammedans 
esteem it one of the four holiest sanctuaries of the 
world. The cave Machpelah, which contains the 
sacred dust of the Father of the Faithful, of the 
spiritual fathers and mothers of Israel, and as 
some have believed that of Adam himself, has not 
been entered for some six centuries or more. The 
mosque which stands upon the site, probably an 
early Christian church, is even more jealously 
guarded than the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem. 
For many centuries it was most carefully kept from 
the "infidel" gaze of Christians and Jews. An 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FRIEND 49 

Italian once entered the mosque in disguise, and 
AH Bey, a Spanish renegade, was allowed to join 
with Moslem worshippers, while in modern times 
Pierotti, as government engineer, was allowed to 
examine the building. King Edward the Seventh, 
when travelling as Prince of Wales, was given 
free access to the mosque in 1862, accompanied 
by his suite, of which Dean Stanley was a 
member, but the sacred cave was most 
rigorously kept from any supposed profanation. 

The name Hebron, as we study its origin, 
suggests a most beautiful meaning. 

Fiirst tells us that "Q the verb Hhabhar 
means : To be strung together, to be bound, to be 
associated, to unite; and that the noun ^^ 
Hebhron signifies : A city, from the idea of join 
ing, association. The Oxford Gesenius says that 
the root meaning of Hhabar is to unite, to bind, 
to be joined, and that Hebron means association, 
league, etc. 

Dr. Young gives its meaning as " Company." 
Dr. Adam Clarke translates it quite freely as 
fellowship, friendly association. Canon Faussett 
tells us that Hebron means fellowship ; and the 
Mohammedans most suggestively name the 
modern Hebron Beit el-Khalil, that is, the house 
of the Friend (of God). 

Whichever meaning be taken, the name is 
fragrant with lessons concerning Christ, Who in 
Himself fulfils, and far more than fulfils, all that 

E 



5 o THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Hebron the City of Refuge meant in old time. 
In the quaint and strikingly beautiful words of 
John Mason : 

" Christ is my Father and my Friend, 

My Brother and my Love, 
My Head, my Hope, my Counsellor, 
My Advocate above." 

And as language failed the poet to express all 
that Christ is to His believing people, he thus 
broke forth : 

" My Christ, what shall I call ? 
My Christ is First, my Christ is last, 
My Christ is All in All." 

Jesus Christ is indeed our Hebron. 

Is He not the secret of our Fellowship with 
God ? The leading principle of the mighty plan 
of Salvation is that Jesus Christ is the only 
mediator between God and man. He is then the 
medium of fellowship with God. Now fellowship 
is a tremendous privilege. It is an Icelandic 
word which conveys the idea of partnership, or 
community of interest, literally " a laying together 
of property," or " a money partnership." We are, 
as Adam Clarke wisely puts it, joined with God 
in "friendly association." 

And it is through Christ that we have fellowship 
one with another. He is the true bond of union 
between man and man, in Christian brotherhood. 
It is through Him, as we are united to Him by 
faith, that we are able to say, " I believe in the 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FRIEND 51 

Communion of Saints." He is the centre, and as 
the spokes of a wheel draw nearer together as they 
approach the hub, so Christians enter into closer 
bonds of union as they draw near to Christ. 

Jesus Christ is indeed our Hebron. 

He is " The Friend." 

Jesus is the Friend of Sinners. The proof of 
His friendship is in the love with which He loves 
them, is in His great love-quest, as he seeks to 
save the lost and wandering sons of men, and 
lead them home to God. 

Jesus Christ is the Friend of the Sorrowing and 
the Suffering. " There is a Friend that sticketh 
closer than a brother." It is in the hour of trial 
and of bitter loss that friendship is most precious, 
and it is then that Jesus shows how real and how 
true is His friendship for His people. " When 
thou passest through the waters I will be with 
thee." If Seneca could tell the courtier in 
Rome who had lost his son that he had no cause 
to mourn, either for that or ought else, since 
Caesar was his friend, what comfort to the 
Christian to know that there is no person, and no 
power, in all the universe of being able to separate 
him from the love of Christ. 

Jesus Christ leads His people into the fulness ot 
His Friendship. Aristotle defined friendship as 
the existence of two souls in one body. Christ 
made it by His Spirit an abiding life : " Abide in 
Me, and I in you." It is not only intimacy but 



52 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

nearness, not only nearness but identity : one 
thought, one heart, one life. The friendship of 
Jesus is friendship indeed. It is marked every 
where by its intense reality. It knows no change. 
There is in it the spirit of undying constancy. 
He is a faithful friend. What a contrast to the 
attitude of Jesus Christ is that illustrated by the 
saying of Horace Walpole, " If one of my friends 
happens to die, I drive down to St. James Coffee 
House and bring home a new one." The friend 
ship of Jesus is perennial, it never dies, it is proof 
against all the shocks of time, against all the 
varying vicissitudes of human life, against every 
impairing and impeding influence which may 
stand in the way of its exercise. It has been 
asserted of radium, that it is " immutable among 
mutable things." This statement may be 
affirmed absolutely of the friendship of Jesus, for 
it is eternal like the life of God. 

In all ages men have admired, and praised, and 
treasured friendship. It is the most beautiful and 
fragrant flower that man meets in his earthly pil 
grimage. Is it any wonder that he seeks it and 
prizes it, and wears it upon his heart ? It brightens 
and refreshes his life. Our Shakespeare has 
enshrined for us in noble lines the thought of its 
preciousness : 

"Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried 
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel." 

The poet thought only of human friendship, 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FRIEND 53 

but Jesus is both human and divine. And He 
offers us the fulness of His great heart of love. 
He tenders you His friendship, He invites your 
trust, He desires your love. He thus becomes 
your " Hebron," in whose undying friendship you 
may trust both for time and for eternity. 

The fellowship of Christ is a glorious privilege 
to the Christian who rests in Christ, the refuge of 
his soul. It is the communication to his heart- 
life of all the rich treasures of blessing which the 
Son has in the Father, for truly, " our fellowship 
is with the Father and with His Son Jesus 
Christ." It is heart to heart converse, the con 
cord of the mind brought into harmony with the 
Divine. It is a partnership, for the thought is most 
practical, a sharing of the things of God with His 
believing child, a unity of thought and action. It is 
the privilege of access to God, and the throne of 
His grace, a sanctified intercourse with the Father 
of our spirits, and an abundant entrance into all 
the blessings of His love. 

The Christian believer " in Christ " has direct 
and immediate fellowship with the Lord Jesus 
Christ through faith ; and as he walks " in the 
light " he has fellowship with his fellow- 
Christians, through Christ who unites him with 
all that are in Christ Jesus. Christians are 
thus drawn in closer bonds of fellowship, and 
loving Christ they love one another ; while 
fellowship with the Father is through Christ 



54 



THE CITIES OF REFUGE 



alone, Who said " I am the Way ; no man 
cometh unto the Father but by Me." 

It is a fellowship of life, a vital union, an 
abiding and eternal life, which is only to be found 
in Christ, Who is the Life. The Cities of Refuge 
were a striking emblem of the safety of one 
who, convinced of sin, fled to the only One Who 
could save and help. Believing he has life, and 
he lives the life of faith. It is a present fact, and 
an eternal possession. It belongs not only pre 
eminently, but exclusively, to Christ ; "this life is 
in His Son." And the life that Christ gives He 
guards unto eternity, " I give unto them eternal 
life, and they shall never perish." 

This life must be fed, for life calls for nourish 
ment, and nothing short of divine food can satisfy 
the longing of the soul. The Bread of Heaven 
alone can meet the immortal need, the Water 
of Life alone refresh, for it is 

"A thirst no earthly stream could satisfy 
A hunger that must feed on Christ or die." 

It was a divine provision that in the Cities of 
Refuge the necessaries of life should be kept at 
all times. Food and water were to be on hand, 
at whatever cost. In Christ there is life, " He 
that hath the Son hath life," and it is Christ 
Who sustains the life He gives. " I am," said 
the Lord Jesus, " the Bread of Life." Bread is 
in itself a perfect symbol of the food essential to 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FRIEND 55 

the nourishment and preservation of physical 
life. It suits all conditions and all constitutions, 
from youth to old age. And the fruit of the vine 
is the natural symbol of refreshment. 

Christ is indeed our Hebron. In Him we have 
fellowship divine. In the sacred feast which 
Jesus makes, we have a Holy Communion. It is 
the Lord s Supper, in which the Bread is the 
bread of the Covenant, and in all ages to par 
take of one s table, and to eat of one s bread has 
been a sign and seal of friendship and of fellow 
ship. The Cup, as the Lord Jesus declared, is 
the New Covenant in His blood. It is the cup of 
blessing, containing as it does the covenant-wine, 
which speaks louder than trumpet tongue of " the 
blood of the everlasting covenant," the blood by 
which He has made peace upon the cross, the 
blood by which we have access, and enter into 
fellowship with the Father, " in Christ Jesus, ye 
who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the 
blood of Christ." 

The Holy Communion is a veritable means of 
fellowship, by which the memory of the loving 
Saviour is kept green in our hearts, the flame of 
love to Him is kept burning brightly in our lives, 
the memory of His Divine Person is ever renewed 
in our minds, and the spirit of trust is constantly 
increased and strengthened in Christ Himself. 
And as we approach the Sacrament of His love, 
in simple faith, believing His Word, and trusting 



56 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Him fully, our souls are nourished and refreshed 
by His most precious Body and Blood, we 
spiritually feed upon Him, and receive in the 
hand of faith, the spiritual food, the living and 
true Bread, and the spiritual refreshment, which 
the true Vine alone can supply, so that in our 
heart of hearts " we spiritually eat the flesh of 
Christ and drink His blood." 



Jesus Christ out Jfovtvess 



" Who trusts in God s unchanging love, 
Builds on the rock that naught can move." 

George Neumark, 

" The race is run, the fight is fought, 
All the pilgrims cares are dreams, 
When that dawn of morning gleams. 1 

Klopstoctfs Morgenlied. 

" The only sure foundation Thou, 

The only Fortress made 
Invincible to hostile powers ; 
The only Sim and Shade" 
" Safe within Bezels lofty towers, 

We can look down and smile 
Upon the dangers and the griefs 
Which seemed so dread erewhile." 

J-E.J. 



4. 



THE message of the Gospel and its com 
forting truths, as we have already seen, 
were wonderfully foreshadowed in the 
Cities of Refuge. They show forth Christ, 
in His great redeeming work of love for 
the souls of men. They illustrate especially 
the way of life. They were types of Christ, 
and their names express some particular 
attribute or office of the Divine Redeemer. In 
Kedesh we find in Him as the holy one a 
Sanctuary, in Shechem the shoulder, the " secret 
of spiritual Strength," in Hebron our Friend, 
" who sticketh closer than a brother," and who 
gives us Fellowship with God and man. 

It was necessary, on account of the natural divi 
sion of the Holy Land by the Jordan, that provision 
should be made on both sides of the river, so 
that no Israelite who sought a refuge should be 
at a disadvantage in the race for safety and pro 
tection. Three cities were therefore appointed, 
"on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward." 
The first of these was Bezer. It is mentioned, 

59 



60 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Driver remarks, on the Moabite Stone, as one of 
the cities rebuilt by Mesha. 

Bezer stood in the wilderness in the plain 
country or table land, but has not been identified 
with certainty in the present day. It was a 
Reubenite city allotted to the family of Merari, 
one of the progenitors of the three great families 
of the Levites, consecrated to the service of God, 
and who bore the heaviest burden in connection 
with the removal of the tabernacle throughout all 
the wanderings of the Children of Israel. It 
was situated on the smooth downs of Moab east 
of the Jordan. 

The name Bezer is full of meaning, and 
strikingly suggestive. Fiirst notes that the verb 
~>S3 Batsar means : To gather grapes, to lessen, 
shorten, to cut off from something, to separate, 
to fortify as of walls ; while the noun ~)2f2 Betser 
means : Place of ore, gold, silver broken out of 
the mine ; strong place. God is a fortress. The 
Oxford Gesenius says that the verb means to cut 
off, make inaccessible especially by fortifying, 
enclose ; the noun denoting a fortress, and pos 
sibly precious ore, from the idea of separation. 

The meaning of the name is thus variously 
given. The generally accepted interpretation is 
Strong, a fortification and therefore a stronghold, 
a fortress, taking the meaning to enclose, 
encompass with a wall, and arising from this, 
a fortified place, and hence goods or treasure 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FORTRESS 61 

thus secured from injury. But it may mean also 
gold earth, fair ore or gold ore. 

If we take the meaning of stronghold it conveys 
the thought of a fastness, a place of security from 
enemies. If we take fortress it suggests a strongly 
fortified place of some considerable extent. Its 
leading thought is a place of safety from foes 
who may wish to injure or to destroy us, a place 
of security in the day of conflict, the hour of trouble. 
Its meaning would come with power to a people 
who had been engaged in a long warfare, or who 
were beset with foes on every side. A fortress was 
to them a necessity without which there could be 
no feeling of security, no hope of safety. It 
was specially necessary where the weak were 
called upon to resist the strong. 

The art of fortification goes back to the earliest 
history of our race. It grew out of the necessity 
of the case, the need of mutual help and pro 
tection drew men together into one place, and it 
became necessary to study self-defence for their 
families and for their property against sudden 
attacks from their enemies. It was essential that 
in times of war there should be a sufficient food 
supply, carefully guarded against attack. In 
early days a single wall was sufficient, and walls 
were, as a rule, made of brick. The walls of 
cities were soon, however, made very strong and 
permanent. The walls of Babylon were sixty 
miles in extent. Herodotus, who personally 



62 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

visited Babylon, declares that the walls were 
eighty-seven feet in breadth and three hundred and 
fifty feet in height. The defences of Jerusalem, 
though different in character from Babylon, were 
none the less effective. It is related that in the 
great siege by Vespasian, all the Roman battering 
rams and other engines of destruction only 
succeeded in one night in disengaging four stones 
from the masonry in the tower of Antonia. 

The main object of a fortress is to provide a 
defence for the weak against the strong. The 
aim is to render a place secure against the attacks 
of an enemy. It is man s work, though man 
often but makes use of the natural advantages of 
a position as it came from the hands of the 
Creator. The words fortify, fortress, fort, are all 
derived from/orris, strong, and the idea is that addi 
tional strength is given in warfare to one party 
over another. The Duke of Wellington was a 
master of the science of fortification, and made 
free and full use of the art of the engineer. He 
saw that an army entrenched or fortified in the 
field possesses almost the same advantages as if 
it were in a fortress. The lines of Torres Vedras, 
covering fifty miles and containing fifty forts, 
which held in check a powerful French army 
under Massena, and which saved Portugal, were 
planned by Wellington, and were, perhaps, the 
most remarkable line of defence ever constructed. 
Jesus Christ is our spiritual Fortress. 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FORTRESS 63 

It is a happy personal experience to realize in 
any sense what a great mercy even temporal 
safety is. But what a tremendous privilege 
is spiritual safety. Dr. R. W. Dale, who was such 
a great intellectual and spiritual force in English 
non-conformity, wrote to his brother on his 
fortieth birthday : " It is a great thing to have 
forty years behind you without any great catas 
trophe and shame. The ice cracks in such 
unexpected places the ship is so apt to strike on 
rocks where the chart gave no warning of them 
that mere safety seems to me a much greater 
reason for thankfulness than it used to be." 

In Christ we are safe from every enemy. 
In Him alone there is ample security for time and 
for eternity. In the world of sense there may or 
there may not be, safety in material things, from 
an enemy in a fortress, from the rifle shot behind 
the earth work ; but in the spiritual world safety 
is only to be found in a person, Who is Jesus 
Christ. " There is none other name under 
heaven given among men whereby we must be 
saved." 

In Him alone there is security against sin, its 
fatal power, its evil influence, its terrible inroads, 
its awful punishment. His name is Saviour, and 
He is mighty to save. 

In Him alone there is safety from the attacks of 
Satan, from the darts of temptation which he 
flings against the soul, from every wicked purpose 



64 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

of the evil one. He protects all who trust in Him. 
"The Lord Himself is thy keeper." " O my dove 
thou art in the clefts of the rock." 

In Him alone there is help in the day of trouble, 
for He is the Saviour of the soul, who offers rest 
and peace to all who put their trust in Him. 

As Luther magnificently says in his noble 
hymn, the great German war song, the Marseil 
laise, as Heine calls it, of the Reformation : 
" A fortress sure is God our King, 
A shield that n er shall fail us ; 
His sword alone shall succour bring 
When evil doth assail us." 

The poet s mind runs from one image to another 
in the lines. For words fail to express adequately 
all that God really is as a Saviour of His people. 
And as he thinks of Satan s craft and cruel hate, 
an invisible enemy armed with deadly power, 
seeking whom he may devour, Luther quickly 
passes from the figure of a fortress, and pictures a 
champion sent of God, the sinner to deliver. 
"And dost thou ask His name? 

Tis Jesus Christ the same 

Of Sabaoth the Lord, 

The everlasting Word, 

Tis He must win the battle." 

Jesus Christ is our Stronghold. The stronghold 
differs from the fortress in that it is often framed 
by nature without the aid of man s art. Jesus 
Christ is ever our Rock of Defence, our sure refuge 
against every form of evil. He is the Rock of 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FORTRESS 65 

Ages " cleft to be a refuge " for the sinner against 
the enemies of his soul, smitten to furnish the 
river of the water of life, a protecting shade 
against the fierce blast of sin, a hiding place from 
the wind of temptation, a covert from every 
tempest of evil that may beat against the soul of 
man. 

He is our "Tower of Salvation," so high as to 
be out of the reach of all dangers which fill us 
with dread and nameless terror. 

In that " Tower " there is safety for the sons of 
men. The salvation which Christ has provided is 
a wall about His people which no ladder can 
scale, which cannot be battered down by the 
engines of war, which cannot be undermined or 
destroyed. " God is our refuge and strength, a 
very present help in trouble." " The name of the 
Lord is a strong tower ; the righteous runneth 
into it and is safe." " Thou hast been a shelter 
for me, and a strong tower from the enemy." 
" The Lord is my rock and my fortress." 

If we take " Bezer " to mean " gold ore," as Dr. 
Patrick Fairbairn suggests, it adds even more to 
its deep spiritual significance. For gold is ever 
the great sinew of war. And while gold in 
Scripture is symbolic of many different things, it 
is peculiarly adapted to show forth the inestimable 
value of the grace of Christ, which alone is true 
spiritual wealth. " I counsel thee," said the 
Lord Jesus, " to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, 

F 



66 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

that thou mayest be rich." And when faith 
acquires, or rather appropriates the riches of 
Christ, without money and without price, the 
figure passes to the child of God. " The precious 
sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold." 

Christ then fulfils all that Bezer stood for as a 
City of Refuge. 

And we may well say that as gold is 
above all other metals so Christ is above 
all, is "All in All." He is the Pearl of 
priceless worth, the Christian s true and only 
real wealth. He possesses all the riches of 
God, for it is written as one of God s greatest 
promises. " How shall He not with Him 
also freely give us all things ? " " My God 
shall supply all your need according to His 
riches in glory in Christ Jesus." In Christ we 
have all the wealth of God, in Him all fulness 
dwells, and as St. Paul declares, " Ye are com 
plete in Him," as Dean Alford renders it : " Ye are 
filled full in Christ," or as Bishop Lightfoot 
translates it, " And ye are in Him being fulfilled." 
For true life consists in union with Him, and of 
His fulness all His people receive, drawing from 
Him all the riches of His grace to meet their 
spiritual need, for in Christ are all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge hidden. John Newton, 
in one of his finest hymns one of the most 
beautiful in the English language combines the 
thoughts which cluster around Bezer : Jesus our 



JESUS CHRIST OUR FORTRESS 67 

Fortress, in Whom is treasured all the riches of 
God: 

" Dear Name the rock on which I build, 
My shield and hiding place, 
My never-failing treasury, filled 
With boundless stores of grace." 



Jesus Christ our 1beavenl\> 
Ifoome 



" So he who seeks a mansion in the sky, 
Must watch his purpose with a stedfast eye. 

IV m. Cowper. 

" Oh let Thy hand support me still, 
And lead me to Thy holy hill." Zinzendorf. 

" Go up, go up, my heart, 

Dwell with thy God above ; 
For here thou canst not rest, 
Nor here give out thy love." 

Horatius Bonar. 

" Though the Earth dispart these Earthlies, face from face, 

Yet the Heavenlies shall surely join in Heaven, 
For the spirit hath no bonds in time or space." Lytton. 

" Thou Who wast Centre of all heights on the Mount of 

Beatitudes, 
Grant us to sit with Thee in heavenly places." 

Christina G. Rossctti. 

" And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man can 
not see, 

But if we could see and hear, this Vision were it not He?" 

Tennyson, 

" In sight the gates of Ramoth stand, 

Erst opened to our King ; 
And soon within their shining walls, 

His ransomed hosts He ll bring." J-E.J. 

" To Pisgah s top I fly, 

And there delighted stand, 
To view beyond a shining sky, 
The spacious promised land." 

"The Lord of all the vast domain, 

Has promis d it to me ; 
The length and breadth of all the plain, 

As far as faith can see." Wm. Coivper. 

" For thou canst not rest until thou attain the highest 
good, and find out the ultimate end ; which being recognized 
and found, Thy restlessness shall cease." 

Thomas A . Kempis, 



RAMOTH in Gilead was a strong City of 
Refuge. It was a fortress of consider, 
able natural strength, the key of eastern 
Palestine commanding Gilead, cele 
brated from the earliest days for its aromatic 
spices and balm. 

Ramoth was situated in the territory of Gad, 
and was therefore held by the Gadites, famous 
soldiers of old time, " men of might and of war, 
fit for the battle." Their " faces were the faces 
of lions," and they were " as swift as the roes 
upon the mountains," "one of the least was a 
match for a hundred, and the greatest for a 
thousand." 

They were evidently a bold, courageous, and 
warlike people, constantly fulfilling the prophetic 
words of Moses : " He dwelleth as a lion." But, 
strong as they were, they remembered that the 
battle is the Lord s, and of one of their most 
famous victories it is said that they triumphed 
" because they put their trust in Him." The 
nature of the people, the conditions of the country 



7 2 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

demanded a strong city of Refuge. And this 
Ramoth was in every sense. 

The name Ramoth is suggestive of spiritual 
lessons of the greatest significance to the Christian. 
Fiirst says that the word is from D-ll rum, or 
DiO ra am, to be high ; and that rflDN") ramoth, 
the plural noun, means Heights. The Oxford 
Gesenius says the verb signifies to be high, 
exalted ; the noun naturally signifying Heights. 

Ramoth, then, means " heights," and, like its 
kindred cities, indicates the most ample and 
perfect security. It is from a word which means, 
to be raised, made high, or exalted, and hence 
eminence. It conveys the idea of " high places," 
a thought which finds its truest expression in the 
great term of St. Paul, " the heavenly places," 
or "the heavenlies." 

Jesus Christ is the true Ramoth. 

In Christ we find a place of perfect safety, 
for He is the citadel of the soul. In Christ we 
find abundant provision for our every need, for in 
Him all fulness dwells. In Christ we find that 
we enjoy every spiritual privilege, for the Divine 
Father" has blessed us with every spiritual bless 
ing in the heavenlies in Christ." 

Jesus Christ is our Ramoth. 

St. Peter declared " Him hath God exalted 
with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour." 
He is the Prince of Glory, Who though He was 
rich yet for oqr sakes became poor, that we 



JESUS CHRIST OUR HEAVENLY HOME 73 

through His poverty might become rich, Who 
being originally in the form of God, emptied Him 
self, and being made in the likeness of men, 
humbled himself unto death, even the death of 
the Cross. Wherefore, God hath highly exalted 
Him, and made Him Lord of Lords, and King 
of Kings, with all power in heaven and earth. 
He is the Saviour of the world. The Son of Man 
came " to seek and to save that which was lost." 
This was His holy mission, His great love-quest. 
And now He is able, as the Saviour-Prince, to 
save to the uttermost all them that come to God 
through Him. 

The believing sinner, with the burden of his 
guilt upon him, finds a refuge in Christ at Mount 
Calvary, enters into the fulness of the new life at 
Mount Olivet, and is exalted with Christ to the 
heavenlies. So St. Paul declares: " God, being 
rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He 
loved us, even when we were dead through our 
trespasses, quickened us together with Christ (by 
grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with 
Him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly 
places, in Christ Jesus." (Eph. ii. 5 R.V.) 

There is a most real union between Christ and 
Christians. It is nothing short of a vital union. 
It has been compared by the Lord Jesus Himself 
to the union which we find in nature, between the 
vine and the vine branches. St. Paul likened it 
to the unity of the human body, especially indi- 



74 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

eating the vital connection which there is between 
the head and the members. There is, therefore, 
the closest relationship between Christ and His 
people. Christ is in heaven as our great Head, 
as our representative. Bishop Christopher 
Wordsworth has well expressed the Christian s 
privilege in these words : 

" Thou hast raised our human nature in the clouds to 

God s right hand, 

There we sit in heavenly places, there with Thee in glory 
stand." 

The Christian s position with Jesus Christ in 
the heavenlies is one of rich and precious privilege. 
The believer s citizenship is in heaven, as the 
apostle declares, he now possesses his constitu 
tional rights, it is his country, the Commonwealth 
to which he belongs by right. We have the same 
thought in the words " I was born an English 
man," conveying with it all the rights of citizen 
ship, its privileges and powers in the British 
empire. 

The Christian in the person of his great Head, 
Jesus Christ, has already entered the City of God, 
the only city which is the eternal City. His 
name is already enrolled there. He enjoys all 
its privileges and immunities, his safety is pro 
vided for, every possible good for time and for 
eternity is his, and while he is upon his earthly 
pilgrimage the Lord Himself is his keeper, and 
an innumerable company of angels clothed with 



JESUS CHRIST OUR HEAVENLY HOME 75 

strength incorruptible guard his every footstep, 
while His loving Father graciously supplies his 
every need. 

The Christian s position in regard to " the 
heavenlies " is not some beautiful theory of life 
which charms the imagination and dazzles the 
fancy, but which has no foundation in sober fact. 
St. Paul s teaching is clear as the day. The 
believer is in the heavenly places by point of 
right, based on his relationship to Christ ; in a 
spiritual sense it is true virtually in spirit in the 
present time of his earthly life, but looking for a 
future reality of a presence which shall cover his 
whole personality. 

The Christian s Home is there, Heaven is His 
Home. 

The promise of Christ puts this beyond all 
question. " I go to prepare a place for you. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will 
come again and receive you unto Myself, that 
where I am there ye may be also." It is the 
blessed home, where those who are "accepted 
in the beloved" will enter into the perfect felicity 
of His chosen. It is our Father s House, into 
which we enter as His dear children, and " if 
children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs 
with Christ," possessing through His wondrous 
grace the fulness of the glory. " The glory which 
Thou hast given Me, I have given them." 

The Christian s life centres in "the Heavenlies," 



76 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

He has risen with Christ, and ascended in 
spirit, so that he sits with Christ on high, 
finds his home with God, sets his aims and 
affections heavenward, sees the full fruition of 
his hopes all culminating there, places his 
dearest treasures in that safe stronghold, and 
remembers that it is his sure, and certain, and 
indisputable inheritance. 

The believer s privileges in the Heavenlies have 
been the subject of much meditation and thought 
in all the ages of Christian experience. John 
Bunyan, the ingenious and immortal dreamer, 
has given us two pictures of the blessed state 
of which the Apostle writes. 

The first is the view of the Delectable Moun 
tains. These mountains are Emmanuel s Land. 

Christian and Hopeful went up into the moun 
tains, after their merciful deliverance from 
Doubting Castle and Giant Despair. They found 
Emmanuel s Land to be a delightful place. The 
gracious shepherds of the Lord of the mountains 
invited them to solace themselves with the good 
of the Delectable mountains. They looked with 
delight upon the gardens and orchards, the vine 
yards and fountains of waters, finding everywhere 
refreshment and renewal of strength. But, best 
of all, from Emmanuel s Land the City of God 
can be seen. Through the "perspective glass" 
of faith the gates of the Celestial City can be 
discerned, 



JESUS CHRIST OUR HEAVENLY HOME 77 

" My Father s house on high, 

Home of my soul, how near 

At times to faith s foreseeing eye 

Thy golden gates appear ! " 

The place is one of privilege, and of glorious 
anticipation of the perfect happiness that awaits 
the believer in the more immediate presence of 
the Lord. 

The second picture of present blessedness is 
the entrance into the "country of Beulah." 

In that dear Beulah Land Christian and 
Hopeful found that they were not only within 
sight of heaven, but within its very borders. " In 
this land the shining ones commonly walked." 
The air was very sweet and pleasant, the birds 
sang constantly, the flowers bloomed every day, 
indeed there was no night, for the sun shone 
always, and ever in their ears there rang out the 
songs of the redeemed. There was a new joy in 
their hearts which they had never known before. 
It is but a step to the Heaven of unspeakable joy. 
True the river had to be crossed, but that is 
bridged with Promise. In Beulah Land, where 
the Bridegroom rejoiceth over the Bride, the land 
of marriage, the Sun of Righteousness shineth 
continually. " Wherefore this was beyond the 
Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out 
of the reach of Giant Despair ; neither could 
they from this place so much as see Doubting 
Castle." 



78 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

The Christian s life on earth is a time of waiting, 
a time of rich and blessed service, a time of 
gracious peace, and holy joy, and expectant hope, 
just 

" Waiting for the morning, 
The brightest and the best, 
When He will call us to His side, 
To be with Him, His spotless bride " 



Jesus Christ our 3o\> 



" We must dare to be happy .... regarding ourselves 
always as the depositaries, and not as the authors of our 
joy." Amiel. 

" Therefore will I be grateful, and therefore will I rejoice ; 
My heart is singing within me ! sing on, O heart and voice." 

Walter Smith. 

" O Lord ! our separate lives destroy ! 
Merge in Thy gold our soul s alloy, 
Pain is our own, and Thou art joy." 

Lord Hough ton. 

" His face 

Shone like the countenance of a priest of old 
Against the flame about a sacrifice, 
Kindled by fire from heaven ; so glad was he." 

Tennyson. 

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts, 

Thou Fount of Life, Thou Light of men 

From the best bliss that earth imparts, 
We turn unfilled to Thee again." 

St. Bernard. 

" Eternal, cloudless Joy is there, 

Pleasures for evermore ; 
For they who reach that blest abode 
Go out from thence no more ! " 

/. E. J. 

"There is in man a Higher than Love of Happiness ; 
he can do without Happiness, and instead thereof find 
Blessedness." Carlyle. 



* (Solan 



THE sixth and last City of Refuge was 
Golan. It is described as Golan " in 
Bashan, of the Manassites" (Deut. iv. 
43). It afterwards gave the name to a 
whole province, Gaulanitis, of New Testament 
times. 

Golan was situated in the ancient land of 
mystery and romance. It was amongst, if not 
indeed, one of the giant cities of Bashan. And 
Bashan, to the imagination of the poet-prophets 
of Israel, was a land of beauty and of wealth, as 
well as a land of fortresses and of fastnesses of 
almost impregnable strength. The early in 
habitants were of tremendous stature, in whose 
presence the Jewish spies of the land felt as if 
they were but grasshoppers. Never, throughout 
their national history, did the Israelites forget 
Sihon, king of the Amorites, or Og, the king of 
Bashan, who were laid low before their conquering 
army, through the intervention of the Most High. 
Nor will the name of Goliath of Gath ever be 
forgotten, while courage is honoured upon earth, 

8! 



82 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

or faith regarded in heaven. The giants were 
laid low, and the giant cities were taken by the 
men of faith, and the national songs of Israel 
ever bore testimony to the mercy of God which 
endureth forever. 

The name Golan is fruitful in meaning. Fiirst 
derives it from ^13 gill, the verb signifying to turn 
oneself in a circle, to surround, to embrace, 
enclose; hence the noun, ]b^2 Golan, a circuit, a 
district. 

^5 is sometimes used to denote joy, 
probably because a whirling motion in a circle is 
indicative of a joyous feeling. Gesenius practic 
ally gives the same meaning, but notes that the 
verb ^ to go round, or about, also means 
to rejoice. 

Dr. Patrick Fairbairn gives an interpretation, 
which, however, does not seem to rest on as good 
authority : !"63 , gala, to be captive, to go 
forth, to emigrate. 

It requires no mystic to see the beauty and 
suggestiveness of the name, whichever interpreta 
tion be taken. 

If Golan means, as has been claimed, circle, to 
embrace, enclose, or something surrounded, what 
a light it throws upon the keeping power of 
Christ ? 

The Christian believer has fled to Christ for 
refuge. He has laid hold by faith upon the hope 
set before him. That instant he is "in Christ " 



JESUS CHRIST OUR JOY 83 

yea more, Christ is in him " the hope of glory." 
There follows, most assuredly, that the believer 
has perfect security, that all " must be well," that 
whatever comes of blessing or of discipline, of 
what we call " weal or woe," judging by our poor 
earthly standards, will be for his welfare, that "all 
things " will be found to work together for his good. 
The Christian s wonderful privileges in Christ 
as our Golan, our City of Refuge, have been 
beautifully expressed in lines breathing the spirit 
of a most trustful faith : 

" In the centre of the circle of the love of God I stand, 
There can be no second causes, all must come from His 

dear hand. 
"All is well ; for is it not my Father Who my life hath 

planned ? " 
" Though I cannot tell the reasons, I can trust, and so am 

blest, 

God is Love and God is faithful, so in perfect peace I 
rest." 

If again, Golan means as some scholars think, 
exile, it suggests lessons which we need ever to 
remember. For did not Christ pass from Heaven 
to this world in which we live ? He voluntarily 
made Himself an exile from His Father s home of 
light. He came to earth a pilgrim and a 
wanderer. " The foxes had holes, and the birds 
of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had not 
where to lay His head." 

The Lord Jesus constantly declared " I am 
from above ... I am not of this world. I 



84 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

came out from the Father, and am come into the 
world : again I leave the world and go unto the 
Father." And of mankind, in its purely human 
aspect, unregenerate, unrenewed in heart and 
mind, unspiritual and earth-bound, He said : " Ye 
are from beneath ... ye are of this world." 
His great mission, for the sake of which He left 
His Father s house, was to seek and to save that 
which was lost. For to be earthly in aim and 
purpose, to be selfish in outlook upon life, to be 
unbelieving, thus living for things of sense and 
time, is to be lost and to have missed the supreme 
object of existence. 

What possible bridge can there be between a 
humanity thus earth-trammelled and this heavenly 
life of God in Christ? "An abyss," as Godet 
points out, " separates heaven, life in God, the 
home of Jesus, and earth, the life of this world." 
Only Christ Himself can and does bridge the 
great gulf which sin has made between man and 
God. He is the bridge that spans the vast chasm 
of eternity. He is the way, the living way from 
Man to God, from Sin to Forgiveness, from Earth 
to Heaven. 

Then the Exile-life becomes ours. We no 
longer walk by sight, but by faith. We are, 
as St. Peter says (using words which the Church 
in modern days would do well to remember), but 
" strangers, and pilgrims." This is an aspect of 
the Christian life which needs to be kept con- 



JESUS CHRIST OUR JOY 85 

stantly in view. It requires to be iterated and 
reiterated in a materialistic age, when there is so 
much in modern life which would close in our 
horizon, and restrict our view to the merely 
sensuous. We are exiles, strangers, here but 
for a time, our home is above, this is not our 
Fatherland. Our King to whom we give our heart s 
allegiance is Christ, our citizenship is in heaven. 
We are pilgrims on the earth, but sojourners for 
a little while, travellers passing through to their 
own country. " For here we have no continuing 
city, but we seek one to come." The time of 
our stay is short. Our faces are Zionward. Our 
motto is Onward, Excelsior. 

The most beautiful, and at the same time the 
most expressive meaning for Golan is Joy. 

It makes no draft upon the imagination to enter 
into the exultant joy of the refugee, as fleeing from 
the dread avenger, he entered within the precincts 
of the City of Refuge. He would indeed rejoice, 
his whole being would exult in the thought of 
perfect safety. The awful dread of death which 
like a dark cloud had rested upon him, along the 
whole pathway which he had come, as like a 
frightened deer he had fled before his angry 
pursuers, gave way as the sun of hope came again 
into his sky, and as he passed within the gates 
the full flood-tide of joy burst upon him. His 
fears are now dead, joy reigns within and without, 
" The soul s calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy." 



86 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

And Christ is the believer s Joy. 

The Christian is called to " rejoice in the 
Lord." " In Christ," he is safe, and blessed 
with a great and glorious provision for his every 
need, well, therefore, may he rejoice and sing. 

The life of joy is the Christian s privilege, "joy 
and peace in believing." It differs from what we 
call happiness. The word " happy," comes from 
the Icelandic, " happ " which means good fortune, 
or luck. It is thus associated with outward 
conditions, and is connected with the enjoyment 
of something that brings pleasure into life. But 
the root idea of joy is different. It is from within, 
and is literally a leaping forth, exulting, bursting 
upward from the well-spring of life. It is not the 
blessing of environment, but of character, 
independent of all else, save the presence of 
Christ. It is His gift, " My joy," the fruit of 
His Spirit. 

It is an abiding Joy. In fact the wish and will 
of Christ is that every Christian should enter into 
the fulness of His joy, not for a brief and passing 
moment merely, but in a life of constant enjoy 
ment. " These things have I spoken unto you, 
that my joy might remain in you." What an 
inspiration this is in human life, in a world which 
the poets have called by every name that could 
suggest the evanescent, and the hard, and the 
trying, and the cruel. This world is to their 
minds, "all a fleeting show," a "bubble," a 



JESUS CHRIST OUR JOY 87 

"comedy," a whirling "wheel," a "naughty 
world," a "canting world," a "bleak" and 
"wintry" and "tough," and "cold" world, in 
which " life s but a walking shadow." But it is 
the world into which we are called to live, to 
play our part, and to do our duty. And if as 
Sterne said, that even a smile would lengthen 
the fragment of our lives, what bliss to have 
within us a fountain of joy, the abiding presence 
of Christ. 

It is a growing, expanding, ever-increasing Joy. 

" The joy that is mine," said the Lord Jesus, is 
to be yours. And that not in small measures 
but in its fulness. His purpose is lovingly 
expressed, " in order that your joy may be 
fulfilled," or really perfected, springing up to the 
fulness of its content, flooding the whole being 
with an ever increasing and enduring gladness. 
It is eternal in its origin, and eternal in its sway. 
" Earth s joys grow dim, its glories pass away," 
but Christ s joy in the believer s heart is immortal 
and is touched with the life of God. The stream 
never goes dry, when it issues from an ever- 
flowing fountain. 

Jesus Christ then is our Golan, our City of 
Refuge, our true Joy. In His love we rest. 
Faith unites us to Him. Someone has said, 
Love and Joy " are twins of the same birth." 
And if peace is love reposing, and faith is love 
reclining, joy is love exulting. 



88 THE CITIES OF REFUGE 

Joy is the music of the Christian life, the light 
of Christian gladness, caught by every trusting 
soul that looks unto Christ, and finds the 
experience fulfilled again, in the expressive words 
of a new translation, "they looked unto Him, and 
were radiant," irradiated with gladness, glowing 
with heavenly happiness, luminous with holy 
joy. 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION. 

Cbc Fruit of (be Spirit 

By the YEN. W. J. ARMITAGE, M.A., PH.D. 

RECTOR OF ST. PAUL S, AND ARCHDEACON OF HALIFAX, X S. 

With Introductory Note by the Rev. W. II. GRIFFITH THOMAS, D.D., 
Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. 



From the Press of MARSHALL BROS., Keszvick House, Paternoster Row, 
London, AND OF ALL BOOKSELLERS. 



His Grace, the late ARCHBISHOP OK 
TORONTO, Primate of all Canada, writes : 

Your valuable book. ... I feel sure 
that I will find it very useful." 

The BISHOP OF NOVA SCOTIA : 

I have read it with great pleasure. The 
subject is a most interesting one, ably and 
comprehensively treated, 1 

The Right Rev. FREDERICK COURT ^Ev, 
D.D., New York : 

" Good, sound, helpful, spiritual ; likely 
to be very useful " 

The Rev. R. A. FALCONE?, D D., Litt. D., 
President of Toro t > University : 

" I am sure it will be very much treasured 
by a la--ge number of people, and cannot 
fail to help them.* 

Rev. Canon VROOM, D.D., Professor of 
Divinity in King s College, Windsor, \.S. : 

" I have no doubt many of the Clergy 
will find it helpful in the preparation of 
addresses on the subject." 

The Hon. H. S. BLAKK, K.C., Toronto : 

" I like the book. I do not think that the 
Church sufficiently proclaims the person, 
power, and work of the Third Person ot the 
Trinity. I therefore believe that it will be 
very useful at this time and will be helpful 
to many." 

The Rev. Dr. RKXFORD, Principal of the 
Montreal Diocesan College : 

" I am sure that it will prove very helpful 
in Deepening the spiritual life " 

The Rev. Canon O MEARA, LI..D , 
Principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto : 

The gracious working of the Spirit as 
touching the formation of Christian charac 
ter is dealt with in a most interesting and 
helpful manner." 

The Rev. DYsO\ HAGUE, M.A., London, 
Ontario : 

" It is admirable in every way." 

The Rev. Canon Cony, "D.D., Rector of 
St. Paul s Church, and Prof essor of Dogma 
tic Theology in Wycliffe College, Toronto : 

" The style if concise, lucid and attractive. 
The pages abound in apt quotation and 
helpful illustration. You have added one 
to the number of devotional books which 
really help and interest. . The subject is 
especially timely." 



The late Professor A. V. G. ALLEN, D.D. 
of the Cambridge Theological School : 

" Its merit is out of all proportion toils 
size. I have found it most interesting 
and helpful. It is a practical treatise on 
Christian character, clear and discrimina 
ting. 

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" This valuable contribution to the litera 
ture of the subject . . . deeply spiritual 
yet practical." 

The Presbyterian Witness : 

" The theme of the book is that lovely, 
beautiful and blessed cluster of perennial 
f.-uit growing abundantly in the Lord s 
Garden. Gem? of choice quotations Hash 
on manv pages.and well-selected illustrative 
incidents feather many an arrow." 

The Wesleyan : 

" It furnishes a strong incentive to a life 
of practical godliness. A prayerful phrasal 
of this volume cannot fail to interest and 
benefit the reader. 1 

The Life of Faith: 

" T le teaching is practical, spiritual and 
illuminating in a high degree." 

The Maritime Baptist says : 

" We welcome the book as a real con 
tribution to devo .ional Christian literature. 
It may be read with equal appreciation and 
profit by Churchmen and Xon-Churclimen. 

The Canadian Churchman: 

We heai tily commend this little book to 
the diligent study of all Christians of ever, 
name." 

The Rev. Principal MILLKR, D.C.L., in 
the Editorial Correspondence of The West 
minster: 

" It makes an excellent manual for devo 
tional reading. The chief Christian graces 
are treated in clear, well-written style and 
are expressed with the fervour of convic 
tion." 

The Rev. Professor JAS. DKXXEY, D.D., 
of Glasgow, says : 

"I am sure it will prove useful to any 
who are in quest of help in the devotional 
study of the Bible, or in the culture of the 
spiritual life." 



BY THE SAME A UTHOR . 

Che Cburcb year 

S/uitits for the Sundays, Sacred Seasons and Saints Days of the 
Ch istian Year. 

BY THK 

Yen. W. J. ARMITAGE, M.A., Pb.D. 

With Introductory Note by the 
RIGHT REV. \VM. BOYD CARPENTER, D.D., 

Lord Bishop of Ripon. 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. 



" A very admirable series of Bible studies . . . will, we are 
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" Full of practical and spiritual teaching." The Record, 

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" A beautifully written book." The Globe, Toronto. 

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rler.ominations." Presbyterian Witness. 

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The. Wesleyan. 

"I have no doubt it will become a household treasure." The 
BISHOP OF NOVA SCOTIA. 

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the faith and ably written." The Late BISHOP CARMICHAEL OF 
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people." The BISHOP OF QU APPF.U.K,